State of the Blog 2019

State of the Blog 2019

It’s Saturday night and my house is quiet. This is rare, friends. So rare that it feels a bit scandalous. Here I am, empty house, nothing on the calendar, and I thought to myself, “I should write on the blog…I never do that anymore. I miss it.”

So here I am. I logged on and stared at the screen for a few minutes before I decided I had nothing to say. I went over to our money management software and started working on accounting because THAT is a good use of free time. (Did I mention it’s Saturday night? I party hard.) But then I finished that mundane task and opened up this tab on my browser to find the blog was still sitting there, waiting for an update. So I’m back.

The thing about blogging is it’s constantly in flux. When I started writing here, I updated every couple of days. I’d squeeze in funny stories or anecdotes during breaks at work or while I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy. It was 2005 and my time was my own. Most of my friends weren’t on Facebook or Twitter yet, so they’d come to my blog and share their own thoughts in the comment section. Then I had kids and the blog became a virtual journal of motherhood. This was the golden age of blogging, when women like Heather Armstrong, Alice Bradley, Rebecca Woolf and so many more shared their war stories of parenting with raw honesty. No one was trying to be an “influencer” or get paid, we were all just trying to survive this motherhood thing. And for me, after an unexpected pregnancy and a very lonely first year of parenthood, it was a godsend.

But then came sponsored posts. Don’t get me wrong, I benefited from the early days of paid blogging and I know many women who built a career and fed their families because of it. But it also felt like the end. The Pioneer Woman stopped being a fun site to read cowboy stories and get random photo tips and recipes and became a media empire. There were so many book deals. I started to feel, for the first time since I had started the blog, the wrath of comparison. Sure, I had a few sponsored posts, but I certainly wasn’t able to quit my job to blog full time. Social media only exasperated this problem for me. I felt the need to create a successful “online brand,” complete with a color palette for my Instagram posts. What was once a fun way to connect, felt like work.

And I already HAD a job! While the blog and “social influencing” wasn’t paying the bills, I was able to pull together a significant side hustle writing freelance for larger sites and doing segments on local TV. I would be lying if I said this blog didn’t directly give me those opportunities. When I would pitch my writing or a media segment to a producer, this blog served as my portfolio.

But somewhere along the line, I lost my love of writing “just to write.” I am not sure exactly when it happened, but I imagine it was somewhere between managing Twitter, Instagram, my newsletter, Facebook, August Light Studio, advocacy and life. The blog became another item on my never-ending to-do list. However, it also felt like the easiest thing to cut. So I did.

But I love writing here. As I’ve been re-evaluating how I spend my time, I’m realizing I do have time to write at least once or twice a month….maybe more. It doesn’t have to be perfect or stylish or sponsored. It can just be a grocery list or a funny story about the cat (did I mention we have two cats now? #catladystatus). I have wondered if it’s time to retire the blog altogether, but I really do feel I still have a voice in this space, and I want to use it.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Thanks for clicking off social media and staying a while. I appreciate you. As Kathleen Kelly would say (in the greatest movie ever), “Goodnight dear void.” I’m glad you’re here.

Mixtape Series 02.2019

I made it right under the wire! February is already ending, but I didn’t want it leave without a proper playlist. This is a group of songs that has inspired me as I spent my February doing one of my least favorite tasks…shoveling snow! This month has been bonkers with so many big snowstorms, but shoveling for hours on end is definitely more fun when you can jam out to a great playlist. Happy shoveling!

P.S. You can listen to last month’s mixtape (and learn why I’m making mixtapes again) by clicking here.

Instagram Anxiety

Social Media Anxiety

Well, I should’ve known it would hit again…the dreaded social media anxiety. I am starting to see a pattern when it comes to my love/hate relationship with social media. It’s an endless loop that goes like this:

  1. Oh look, social media is fun! I can catch up with my friends who I don’t see every day! Cute photos of kittens! Look at that awesome living room design! I need that lady’s skirt!
  2. I should probably post more often. In fact, why don’t I have an editorial calendar. I have one for my work, why not for my personal? I need to make sure my content is varied and my photos have a color theme.
  3. OMG, if I see another photo of an influencer talking about daily struggles with a beautifully lit professional image of them staring at the window of an urban coffee shop, I’m going to puke.
  4. I will never be fit enough for Instagram. I might as well give up now.
  5. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. Repeat.
  6. Ugh, I spend way too much time on my phone. I should really cut back.
  7. I apparently cannot cut back. I guess I should just delete the app completely.
  8. Wow, this break from social media has been so amazing! It’s been a few weeks, I bet I could login and just start slow.
  9. Go back to step 1. Repeat forever.

Now, I still don’t really know what the solution is for this ongoing issue, but I know it’s obviously not going away anytime soon. So I’ve been looking around to see if some of the wise women of the internet have any insight. So far, the best conversations on the topic have been via podcast. The Call Your Girlfriend Podcast did an entire episode on Instagram Anxiety, which is incredible. And the Raise Your Hand Say Yes Podcast did a series of episodes on social media breaks that were really insightful.

I’m still unsure what is next for me when it comes to my social media for this blog and personally, but I feel okay knowing I’m at least being thoughtful about the whole thing. I often wonder what I’d be able to get done if I spent less time worrying about social media, and in the last two weeks, I’ve realized how much more productive I am when when I just log off. So for now, I’m on step 7 and wondering if I will close the loop like always, or take a different path this time around.

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